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Best Ball ADP Risers: Running Backs (2023 Fantasy Football)

Best Ball ADP Risers: Running Backs (2023 Fantasy Football)
cameraBest Ball ADP Risers: Running Backs (2023 Fantasy Football)

Why do we draft best ball teams this insanely early? The NFL Draft hasn’t been conducted. We don’t know bye weeks or schedules for these NFL teams.

Two reasons:

  1. Because we are degenerates.
  2. Because we love closing line value (CLV).

CLV is a beautiful thing. Every year a group of players are inappropriately priced by the market. Sometimes it’s because of a murky situation surrounding a player. In other instances, it’s because he burned fantasy managers in the previous season (or both).

In any instance, this creates opportunities to dive head first in early best ball drafts. There are soft ADPs in these drafts that you will not find as we move through the offseason. The cold sweat produced by FOMO should be creeping up your back.

Don’t let fear of the unknown allow you to miss out on this beautiful ADP smorgasbord on Underdog Fantasy.

*All ADP per Underdog Fantasy*

2023 Fantasy Football Best Ball Draft Advice

Fantasy Football Best Ball ADP Risers

Cam Akers (RB – LAR)

(ADP: RB25 82.0 overall)

Cam Akers’ ADP makes zero sense as I scream internally, “IT WILL RISE!” The Akers’ Achilles shade needs to be buried in the past where it belongs. Last year during a lost, late-season stretch run, Akers looked every bit the tackle-breaking workhorse back that the Rams thought they were drafting way back when.

In Weeks 10-18, Akers showed the world that his elusiveness had returned, ranking 21st in yards after contact per attempt, seventh in PFF’s elusive rating, and ninth in runs of 15 yards or more (minimum 50 rushing attempts per PFF, 44 RBs).

If we zoom in further, the numbers display an undervalued bell cow back for 2023 that’s being drafted at his floor. In Weeks 13-18, Akers failed to surpass 72% of snaps played only once, averaging 19.1 touches and 101.8 total yards. He was 11th (tied) in high-value touches among running backs while owning 100% of the carries inside the ten-yard line for Los Angeles. Akers was the RB6 in fantasy points per game during this span. Akers is a smash pick in drafts that fits any roster build.

Dynasty Rookie Draft Kit

David Montgomery (RB -DET)

(ADP: RB26 86.8 overall)

David Montgomery landed in an offense that was fifth in points per game, second in red zone scoring attempts per game, and fifth in yards per play last year. Montgomery should have plenty of opportunities to roll up touchdowns like Jamaal Williams did in 2022. Montgomery could easily return to his RB1 ways in fantasy this year (2020-2021: RB6, RB12 in fantasy points per game).

Detroit brought in Montgomery to play a workhorse role that he’s proved up to handling, which effectively buries D’Andre Swift, who has never proven up to the task. Montgomery has finished with at least a 60.3% opportunity share in three of his four NFL seasons, noting that he’s eclipsed 80% twice.

Swift’s best asset, which is as a receiver, is something that Montgomery has also exhibited skill with. Last year Montgomery was 12th in target share, eighth in route participation, and tenth in yards per route run among running backs. The remaining members of Swift’s hive don’t want to hear it, but Montgomery is proficient enough in the passing game that Swift likely remains parked on the bench for most passing downs.

All the elements are there for Montgomery to obliterate his current ADP in 2023. When the best ball community wakes up and realizes this, he will rise into the mid-RB2 range.

Zach Charbonnet (RB – UCLA)

(ADP: RB31 99.2 overall)

My beautiful buttery rhino looks like a possible second round pick in the NFL Draft. Round Two has become the new Round One in terms of draft capital, equating to early opportunity and tons of it for running backs.

Charbonnet showed the world that he could operate on passing downs, ranking 13th in PFF receiving grade and 31st in yards per route run (minimum 20 targets per PFF). While he might never be among the league’s best-receiving backs, he can be effective in this role, especially because it can help him seize a 70-75% snap share.

Add in his bulldozing ways on early downs, and we have the perfect combination of talent and upside that will rise once draft capital is known. Charbonnet ranked 14th in yards after contact per attempt and 22nd in PFF elusive rating last year at UCLA (minimum 100 carries per PFF). I can’t wait to watch the greased pachyderm pummel defenders at the next level.

Jamaal Williams (RB – NO)

(ADP: RB35 109.8 overall)

The swaggiest interview in the NFL right now. Jamaal Williams has the hip gyrations and lovable personality that will make him a locker-room favorite in the Big Easy and a possible every-down back for at least a portion of the 2023 season.

Alvin Kamara‘s possible suspension still lingers in the air, which is why Williams was brought in. Williams is a dependable running back that can handle volume and pass block his butt off. Last year Wiliams ranked fifth in PFF pass-blocking grade (minimum 50 pass-blocking snaps), allowing zero QB hits.

Williams will never be an explosive rusher, but volume is king in fantasy, and Williams could get all of it for 6-8 games this season. New Orleans has only Eno Benjamin, Dwayne Washington, and Derrick Gore behind Williams on the depth chart. As soon as Kamara’s suspension length is announced (assuming it’s at least six games), Williams’ ADP will be a bump.

Samaje Perine (RB – DEN)

(ADP: RB42 137.4 overall)

Samaje Perine deserved more work last year in Cincinnati and is primed to see more in Mile High in 2023. Perine outplayed Joe Mixon at every turn last year, ranking 24th in yards after contact per attempt and 30th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum 75 carries). He’s displayed an excellent three-down skill set over the last two years. In four games in which he played at least 60% of the snaps, he averaged 19.5 touches and 103.6 total yards with RB3, RB10, RB18, and RB2 finishes in weekly fantasy scoring.

Denver could need his three-down ability for an extended stretch in 2023, depending on Javonte Williams‘ health. Williams’ is still recovering from his devastating knee injury last season. With only Tony Jones Jr., Damarea Crockett, Tyler Badie, and Tyreik McAllister behind Perine on the depth chart, Perine should have no problem capturing a 70% snap share in any games Williams misses as well as having a stand-alone role when he’s active. Perine should be valued as an RB3 (high-end handcuff), and he’s not currently.

Jaylen Warren (RB – PIT)

(ADP: RB55 183.0 overall)

Yes, Najee Harris will lead this backfield, but Warren made a fantastic case last year for more work in 2023. Warren was 16th in breakaway run rate, fifth in juke rate, and 18th in fantasy points per opportunity. Warren’s pass game prowess could easily force the Steelers’ hand next season into making this a full-blown committee backfield. Warren proved to be the better pass catcher of the two last seasons, ranking fourth in PFF receiving grade (Harris 32nd) and 18th in yards per route run (Warren 1.24, Harris 0.77).

In Weeks 5-18, Warren had six weeks as an RB3 or better in weekly fantasy scoring. The path to stand-alone production has already been laid, so he’s not a wasted pick, even as a low-end RB3 or RB4 in drafts. Currently, his floor and ceiling aren’t baked into his ADP at all. Warren also has high-end handcuff appeal as a three-down back if Harris misses any time.

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